Written and directed by Liam Regan
Starring James Hamer-Morton, Damien Morter, Dani Thompson, Vito Trigo, Clay von Carlowitz, Serena Chloe Gardner, Laurence R. Harvey, Dan Palmer, David Curtis
A young man becomes manipulated by his imaginary friend to exact revenge on his tormenting co-workers.
Lifetime horror Liam Regan makes his directorial debut with the bloody and bonkers Banjo. A movie that kicks off with a couple having sex before the busty female of the duo pours a condom of semen all over her protesting partner. And it just gets bigger from there.
Working as though Troma made Drop Dead Fred, Banjo sees bullied office worker Peltzer (James Hamer-Morton) summon back his invisible friend from his childhood, Ronnie (Damien Morter, who was also the film’s DP) to help him take care of his nasty co-workers (including Stalled‘s Dan Palmer and Return to Nuke ‘Em High‘s Clay Von Carolowitz). And, well, mayhem ensues.
Regan worked with Troma on both parts of Return to Nuke ‘Em High and his on-set experiences with Lloyd Kauffman have clearly paid off in spades. Banjo is Regan’s love letter to the citizens of Tromaville, but the style and level of madness and gore could have only come from someone who has worked alongside the company in the past. It’s incredibly slapstick, very silly and wacky beyond all belief. It’s a movie about a man who snaps the ‘banjo skin’ on his penis and them puts it back together with a stapler – this is a movie that is not pulling its punches.
And this is met with equally high-energy and over-the-top performances. While not everyone is great (Dani Thompson is particularly wooden), no one is half-arsing their scenes. Clay von Carlowitz, who was the shining star of Return to Nuke ‘Em High, is phenomenal here as this easy-to-hate cartoon villain, and both Palmer and David Curtis are fantastic sidekicks to him. If anything, Banjo needed more scenes with these three together as they pull out the majority of the film’s laughs as well as best performances – not to take anything away from Hamer-Morton or Vito Trigo, of course. But perhaps the movie’s real winner is Damien Morter, who is insanely over-the-top as the invisible friend Ronnie. He is caked in prosthetics and make-up, but his slapstick performance (think Rik Mayall playing Freddy Krueger) is hilarious from start to end.
Banjo is not for everyone, but then that’s sort of the point. If you love the movies of Troma and think there is some value in movies like Surf Nazis Must Die, then you’ll have a ball with Banjo. Regan shows a lot of promise as a first-time director, and his passion for his art (including several loans and maxed-out credit cards) deserves high praise. He has carved a really unique slice of horror, and it will be interesting to see what he comes out with next.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★
Luke Owen is the Deputy Editor of Flickering Myth and the host of the Flickering Myth Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @LukeWritesStuff.